By Conrad Freidson, Lena Worwood and Ewan Hodson
In the previous article we shared some examples of the lists of leaders format. But it doesn't have to be used purely to talk about the people within that list. This by Ewan Hodson uses the footnotes to talk about films in that universe.
1969 - 1974: Richard M.Nixon (Republican)†
1968 (With Spiro Agnew) def. Hubert Humphrey (Democratic), George Wallace (American Independent)
1972 (With Sprio Agnew) def. Hubert Humphrey (Democratic), George Wallace (American Independent) 
1974 - 1977: John Connally (Republican) 
1977 - 1981: Birch Bayh (Democratic) 
1976 (With Reubin Askew) def. John Connally (Republican), Tom McCall (Independent) 
1981 - 1989: Donald Rumsfeld (Republican) 
1980 (With Paul Laxalt) def. Birch Bayh (Democratic), Henry Howell (Citizens), David Koch (Libertarian) 
1984 (With Paul Laxalt) def. John Glenn (Democratic)
1989 - : Geraldine Ferraro (Democratic) 
1988 (With Sam Nunn) def. William L.Armstrong (Republican), Lowell Weicker (Solidarity)
1). Nixon, Oliver Stone (1995)
“Having gained tons of cache with his trilogy of films on Vietnam, Academy award winning Damascus (1990) and Wall Street (1987), Oliver Stone decided to waste a bunch of that with Nixon, a three hour sprawling mess of a film, about the man that Stone ‘despises more than any other’ who most people are fairly ambivalent about. Nixon follows the titular character (John Lithgow) as he plows through his Presidency slowly creating a Conspiracy around him which begins to unravel in the last two years of his Presidency as Nixon finds himself having to rely on Bob Haldeman (Ed Harris) more than before.
The film would become infamous for its fabrications as Stone alleges that Nixon had G.Gordon Liddy (John Diehl) personally kill journalists, Nixon was connected to the Kennedy assassination and that Nixon was assassinated as a result of being a liability for a cabal of Conservative’s, with Samuel Byck (Benicio del Toro) being the patsy. Stone also has Lithgow scowl and monologue to the audience about his beliefs, plans and paranoia which whilst well done, doesn’t make up for the film’s sagging and unwieldy pace.
Thankfully the film would bomb and Stone would be sent off to write screenplays till ‘Lyndon’ (2001) some years later (which is good but annoyingly meant Stone was allowed to keep making films).”
2). Gumbo, Robert Altman (1973)
“As the Democratic Primaries began to become even more heated and chaotic leading to a turbulent convention, Robert Altman decided that it could work well as the setting for a black comedy. Following a Tom (Keith Carradine) as a supporter of Shirley Chisholm on the Democratic Campaign trail, whilst proclaiming he’s a staunch Liberal (sometimes even claiming to be a Socialist), Tom is a sly schemer who’s drawing up plans to cash in on his credibility amongst activists for any future political runs. Whilst this is happening, his girlfriend Ruth (Shelly Duvall) ponders the future of her relationship with Tom, finding herself becoming increasingly attached to a older Congressman from California called Joe (Warren Beatty). A free wheeling romp through the seedy underbelly of American politics starring a cavalcade of Altman regulars, cameos from eccentric celebrities (Dennis Hopper, Hunter S.Thompson and Jon Voight) and political cameos with folks like a young Gary Hart, Fred Harris, Rev. Jesse Jackson and even a baffled Ed Muskie appearing for brief unscripted segments.
Shot almost like a fly on a wall documentary, the film is an amusing if bleak look at the machinations of both the Democratic Party but also the New Left. The ending sequence in which Hubert Humphrey speech for unity is intercut by Boos and George Wallace’s rallying against the system with his arm in a cast for many signifies the frustrations with the American Democrats in 1972, better than any actual documentary could.”
3). The Lone Star, Joel & Ethan Coen (1999)
“So after a decade starting by helping your goofy director friend make a Superhero blockbuster that you hate, go back to making a series of crime thrillers and independent art house films and then find yourself winning several Academy Awards for a lackadaisical dramedy about a stoned hippie caught up in a Noir story. If it’s making a surprisingly refreshing dramatic comedic biopic of one of the most controversial men in American history, warts and all, then your name is Joel and Ethan Coen.
Whilst shooting Contemplations (1997), Joel Coen would be reading ‘Lone Star: The Connally Story’ by Molly Ivins, a witty cutting biography about the machinations of John Connally. Finding a lot similarities between some of there own stories, the Coen’s would adapt the book and make an award winning film about it.
Starting from the inauguration of President Bayh in 77, the film follows John Connally (Tommy Lee Jones) during his time in the Kennedy administration and beyond, depicting his relationships with President John F. Kennedy (Tim Robbins), Lyndon B. Johnson (John Mahoney, the Coens original pick for Connally), Richard Nixon (Tony Shalhoub) and his relationship with his wife Nellie Connally (Holland Taylor), Hubert Humphrey (John Carroll Lynch) and his arch Republican rival Ronald Reagan (Richard Crenna) over his turbulent political tenure.
Unlike most biopics, the film is more of a dream like exploration of the Connally Presidency, moments of his life clash, dead characters reappear as ghosts haunting the trouble soul. At several moments Connally finds himself arguing with himself done through camera trickery as it establishes that everything is crumbling around Connally. It’s incredibly darkly comedic as the Coen Brothers dry style combines well with Molly Ivins comedic angry message. The Coens would end being nominated for Best Director (which they lost to Sam Mendes) and would win Best Adapted Screenplay, Tommy Lee Jones would be nominated for Best Actor at the 2000 Academy Awards and John Mahoney’s humorous and often times tragic portrayal of Lyndon B.Johnson would net him a Best Supporting Actor award at the same ceremony.
4). He’s Our Guy, Steven Spielberg (1996)
“It’s easy to see why Steven Spielberg why would make the Birch Bayh biopic, with the presidential election coming up and a wave of Seventies nostalgia it was understandable why Spielberg would adapt the story of Birch Bayh to the big screen. Starting in 1962 with his Senate win, the film follows Birch Bayh (Albert Brooks) as he goes from being a Liberal Senator to becoming President of the United States whilst detailing his relationship with his wife Marvella Bayh (Susan Sarandon) problems with cancer. Along the way, Birch finds himself becoming a champion of Liberal causes like ERA but this gains him enemies like George Wallace (Greg Sinise), Donald Rumsfeld (Bill Paxton) and Phylis Schflay (Sissy Spacek) causing Birch to have to seek support from friend Ted Kennedy (Kevin Conroy), Vice President Reubin Askew (Scott Glenn), Congresswoman Bella Abzug (Lainie Kazan) and firebrand Populist and former rival Fred R. Harris (Bruce Campbell).
The biopic is Spielberg firing on all cylinders, Brooks casting at the time seemed unusual but Brooks ability to combine charming, goofy with earnest sincerity would net him an academy award for his troubles. The film that focuses more on Bayh trying to become President whilst dealing with his wife’s illness over political matters though getting the ERA amendment passed and becoming law, which leads to his battles against Schflay that consume a substantial portion of the film. Despite nearly clocking in at three hours, this film is overwhelming a breezy and heartwarming watch with an ending that’ll bring at least a few tears to your eyes”.
5). It Felt Like A Kiss, Adam Curtis (2004)
“Adam Curtis’s documentary series ‘It Felt Like A Kiss’ details the changing Conservative landscape of the Cold War and after. A particular subject is Tom McCall who for Curtis ‘embodies the contradictions and possibilities of the Progressive Conservative movement in the 70s’. Indeed much of the discussion is around McCall’s incorporation of Environmentalist and moderates messaging which made him popular in Oregon but consistently angered the national Republican Party.
Of particular note is analysis of McCall’s attempt to create a Third Force in reaction Connally but finding his message being outshined by Bayh. Indeed through dreamlike editing, McCall’s 76’ campaign is conveyed like the dying dream of the Liberal Republican Wing of the Party, with the last montage sequence of the episode consisting of audio of McCall conceding whilst footage of 70s promises and dreams with the Jesus Mary Chain’s Cut Dead drifting in throughout gave the McCall movement an appropriately bleak send off”
6). Don., Martin Scorsese (2010)
“A film about Donald Rumsfeld had been on the cards for awhile before Martin Scorsese took hold of it and made it the beast of political biopic cinema that we all know. Whilst previous films had shown us the moral corruption, chaos and bleakness of the Rumsfeld Presidency (watch Damascus by Oliver Stone or Heatland by Kathryn Bigelow for good examples of the effect Rumsfeld had on America and the world) Scorsese was more interested in Rumsfeld the man; a contradictory mix of charming, sinister, amusing, bleak and morally corrupt who managed to find himself reelected and consistently liked by enough of the population despite it all.
Don follows the titular Donald Rumsfeld (Kyle MacLachlan in his return to the big screen in about decade) from his days as a Congressman to his last few days as President in which Donald’s uses his affable charm and good old boy nature to slowly manipulate and gain the highest office in the land, with help from his wife’s Joyce (Julianne Moore) and support from figures like Gerald Ford (John Lithgow), Dick Cheney (Vincent D'Onofrio) and Irving Kristol (Alan Alda). Becoming President the film showcases how he used the office to pursue a war with Syria, cut apart the New Deal welfare state with support from folks like Paul Laxalt (John Cusack) and worked with General Alexander Haig (Powers Boothe) to crackdown on ‘worldwide communism’.
Often joked as ‘Scorsese does a crime film but in the White House’ the film with it’s bleak stylish look at the fairly malicious former President would garner Scorsese his Second Best Director and Best Picture Academy Awards whilst Kyle MacLachlan’s portrayal would net him a Golden Globe and signify his big return to big screen acting after a decade of television.”
7). Keep the Big Boys Honest, Spike Lee (2015)
“The adaptation of the Robert Schenkkan play about the two competing Third Party Campaigns of 1980 and there impact is a fascinating watch even if a little too stylistic at times for the source material. Following a Southern Left Wing Populist Henry Howell (Stephen Root) and Libertarian businessman David Koch (Benedict Cumberbatch) as they try and take on bigger political parties.
Showing the grim battles just to get airspace on television, lack of funds and even threats from the other political parties, amusingly the film shows Howell and Koch gaining a common understanding between the two even as there running mates LaDonna Harris (Kimberly Norris Guerrero) and Dick Randolph (Tim Blake Nelson) deeply oppose this and try to avoid any form of understanding. Whilst a fun and quick paced looking at a fascinating election with much praise being given for Kimberly Norris Guerrero and Tim Blake Nelson for there nuanced and well rounded portrayals, Lee’s sometimes overly stylistic flair causes the film to be overwhelming though a unique look at an election then many would rather forget.”
8). She’s The One, Greta Gerwig (2022)
“Geraldine Ferraro existed for a long time in pop culture as a bit of an awkward void. Whilst the popular if controversial two term President was referenced commonly, no one had seriously bothered trying to create a biopic about her. This changes this year with the biopic, She’s The One written and directed by Greta Gerwig about the titular first female President. Starring Frances McDormand as Ferraro, Steve Carrell as Sam Nunn, Steven Van Zandt as John Zaccaro, Timothee Chalament as John Zaccaro Jr., Jordon Peele as Jesse Jackson, Topher Grace as Donald Rumsfeld and John Turturro as Al D’Amato this film looks set to redress the balance on then Ferraro legacy...”
Whereas the below by Conrad Friedson use the notes to tell a story related to the list but from a different perspective rather than just describing what each person did.
Main Organisers of Femina Urbe: 2093-2097: Jo Morris (WomansForce) 2097-2098: efforts suspended due to legal judgement 2098-2105: Roxanne Keene (WomansForce) 2105-2107: Hippo Tay-Butler (WomansForce, then Pan-Feminine Tendency) 2107-2108: efforts suspended due to internal disagreements 2108-2109: Roxanne Keene (Labrys) 2109-2113: efforts suspended due to financial irregularities 2113-2115: Gretna Danforth (Labrys) 2115-2115: efforts suspended due to legal judgement 2115-X115: Roxanne Keene (Independent) Undersea Hideout: The No1 Aquatat Discussion Forum >Wait, hold on, what do you guys mean by "Literal TERF Island"? u:BeyondBio-dome: Sorry, new member. On the fora frontispiece, it says "discussion of all kinds and sizes of aquatats, from mega-cities out of Jules Verne's dreams to poorly scrawled sketches of a Literal TERF Island". What's the second one? ------------------------- u:jon: Use the search engine, asshat. ------------------------- u:OreganoInsectLegislator: Dude, don't be a dick. u:BeyondBio-dome, I hope you're ready for a wild story. Right, so, for a bunch of historical reasons I won't be getting into here, the UK was the centre of the TERF movement for, well, most of the period they were a thing, and they remained an existing force well after the Deluge, unlike most countries. Hence the phrase "TERF Island". Ofc, movements that end up sidelined start to get a little crazy, and TERFism was no exception. By the 2090s, the biggest remaining group were WomansForce, who'd embraced radical misandry, of the kind where men would be wiped out conceptually. I think they were big on parthogenesis? At least I hope so. Otherwise they were just Anti-Natalists with extra steps. Anyways, physical force TERFism had failed largely thanks to being outcompeted by, well, groups that made an effort to get military knowledge, so despite the name they started moving towards peaceful seperatism from male society. The problem was, they weren't able to get seperated enough for some of the radicals, who were more onboard with "creating a new phallus-free society" than "hanging out in a weird campsite in Staffordshire". Now, as I'm sure you're aware, the UK has some pretty loose regulations on aquatat planning. Like, super loose. If you put up the cash to the North Sea Planning Board, you can pretty much always get your way, even if your plans are just a screencap from SeaQuest with all the non-white people edited out of it. I'm sure you can see where this is going. Amazonia, the first effort to start the new women's civilisation under the sea, actually got struck down, because the New Khalistan Murders meant that the Board decided it was a good time to take the non-discrimination clauses seriously for once. This also meant that WomensFoce's leader stepped down from heading the project directly, and instead gave the role to an ally, Roxanne Keene. Oh boy, Roxanne Keene. Keene is...well, I'm not going to beat around the bush, she's a grifter. One of a very special breed of grifters that you get a lot in fringe politics and religion, the kind who never seems to quite make the connection between their actions and their consequences, or erase the connection between their causes and their bank accounts. The ones who really think Jesus wants them to have that Cadillac. What set Keene apart from that crowd, though, was her sheer dogged bloodymindedness. Femina Urbe (the new name they chose for the second attempt; Amazonia apparently caused some issues with the Deep Greens), was actually properly researched, properly planned, and properly costed, even if said costing was...a little out of whack with the actual pricing guidelines. We'll get to that in a minute. Now, while Keene was busy under the sea, her party was getting up to some interesting stuff on dry land. Morris had stepped down and was replaced by Hippolytia Tay-Butler, who, as the name suggests, was pretty much born into the movement. The problem with people born into the movement is that they tend to start reasoning from the ideology they're in, as opposed to starting from their own personal prejudices and slapping the ideology over it, so Hippo decided 1) she was going to start letting trans women in, since, well, they'd abandoned the masculine, right?, and 2) it'd be better strategically to merge with the Left United Front (not that WomansForce were paticularly anticapitalist, it's just that the Front collects tendencies with all the discernment and parsimony of a 9-year-old in a sweetshop). Either one of these would mean civil war. Once the dust settled, Keene, who sided with the old guard for reasons that'll, again, become clear later, had a major problem. Apparently one of the people who left with Hippo was the person who gave WomansForce architectural advice, and now the rebranded Labrys movement had no way of drawing up a structurally sound aquatat. The obvious tack to take here was, of course, to seek another expert's advice, and Keene cast her net far and wide. Very far and wide. On the 1st of July, 2109, the following thread was posted in the Planning and Engineering subforum of UnderseaHideout.co.uk: >>Aquatat planning help--BIOLOGICAL WOMEN ONLY PLEASE In case you don't feel like reading the whole thing, I don't blame you--the thread lasted for over fifty pages. By page 12, Keene had been banned, unable to handle the outrageous demand of "please do not call people who dislike your post slurs". By page 25, we'd moved onto tearing apart the actual submitted designs, at which point u:Vinch752 noticed that Keene, based on the numbers, was being absolutely bilked on the price of carbon fibre. By page 33, we'd managed to tot up the money missing on the plans compared to the amount raised, and then someone compared it against the price of houses in the Basildon area. By page 37, u:daucus_Smithson sent a screenshot of the thread to his boss at the Serious Fraud Office. By page 42, the Labrys Party had officially announced that Keene would be stepping down as head of the Femina Urbe Project and as party treasurer, "pending further review". By the time the thread was locked, we'd officially caused the end of the whole project, something Keene let us know via a sockpuppet account the next day. The remnant of the project was revived by Labrys in 2113, only to get struck down again by the North Sea Planning Board--this time, for lack of an adequate administrative plan, and considering the debacle that was Psi-Fort Three we can only imagine how hideously loose said plans were. Keene started a crowdfunder last year to get her original plans (which are, in fairness, solid, if you ignore the budgetary holes of the exact right size to pay off her mortgage and buy a nice new lamp in the bargain) funded, but given that the Board no longer take private individuals' planning permits, that's not going to be going anywhere. Officially, the dream of an all-female settlement under the North Sea's waves is doomed--and, considering the relative size of the movement elsewhere, it might be dead everywhere else, too. We have "Literal TERF Island" on our frontispiece for the same reason big game hunters have moose heads over their fireplaces. To commemorate the time the nerds on this forum Ended Female Seperatism Forever through the power of Noticing Mortgages. -------------------------- u:daucus_Smithson: oregano next time u @ me pls remember I've got an eye chip now, nearly crashed bike, not pog moment --------------------------
This idea of looking at the perspective of normal people of the lists is quite common. Take for instance the below by Lena Worwood, author of 'Who Will Speak for England?'. This is a sequel to a list about the invasion of the UK but it's just a rundown of the parties by a forum user under extreme circumstances.
5th November 2018: Party Run-Down:
Conservative: They've found the perfect excuse to kick Labour's rationing proposals into the long grass...
Labour: Have finally agreed to the Tory's National Government proposal. The Tories haven't wanted to give them defence/Home Office/Foreign Affairs briefs because of the legacy of Corbynism, but equally haven't wanted to give them things like Education that could help them rebuild in postwar times. So... the next cabinet reshuffle could be quite interesting [Russian soldiers are literally barracked in Downing Street]
Liberal: Have already been working with the Tories in a war-time coalition. So the big question facing them today, as Soviet Tanks disembark in London, is whether they might lose the Welsh Office or the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancashire position when Labour joins the cabinet.
SNP: Have said they'd take part in the National government in exchange for the Scottish Office which... is still not going to happen. Especially after that e-mail that sort of not very subtly asked about what side Scottish police forces would be on if there was UDI.
Plaid Cymru: Adam Price has literally said he wants UDI, because he really doesn't get the game Plaid are meant to be playing right now.
Green: The perennial vote of no-confidence in David Attenborough seems to be gaining ground, since he was appointed to the useless position of Minister for Climate Change in a war-time government. He's basically the CND's most senior snitch and I don't think anyone actually wants the old eugenics supporting dinosaur around.
Communist Party of Great Britain: The Party in exile in starting to sound pretty happy on the illegal radio stations. Apparently. I mean, that's what I'm told. I'd never listen to illegal radio stations. Of course not. The very idea!
Peter Mandelson's Social Democratic Party: One of the few MPs whose constituencies is actually under occupation. Peter is apparently already in Canada. How surprising. Never saw that coming.
Lutfar Rahman: Has gone very very very quiet. No surprise there.
DUP: Mostly getting Sinn Fein to condemn violence against unionists while not condemning violence against Republicans
Sinn Fein: Definitely definitely not planning for what will happen if the invasion goes any worse than it has already.
SDLP: Nobody cares. There's literally an invasion going on I'm not looking these people up. Seriously I could be bombed and die just this once I'm not going to try to make some funny quip about some pointless thing in Northern Ireland
UUP: I really like the nightclub photos on the side of Irish news articles. It's like, massive sectarian violence but also, are thicker eyebrows coming back in? Gods. I hope so. Thin eyebrows are literally the worst.
IGNU: The Irish Green and New Ulster Parties are calling for calm. Interesting tactic. Let's see how that plays out!
Anti-Federalist Party: Are mostly spending this week trying to justify the French invasion of the Netherlands while calling on America to nuke Russia. It's some interesting intellectual gymnastics
British National Party: Internal fights between the pro-Putin faction and the rabidly anti-Communist faction.
Socialist Worker's Party: Seem to have had some kind of internal coup and now support the Russian invasion. The home office is going to regret letting this lot roam free.
Feminist Initiative - The Women's Social and Political Union: There was a very very brief campaign to give transwomen white feathers to indicate that they're only changing gender to avoid fighting in WW3. Never mind that the draft is an Equality Act exemption or that, you know, women are being drafted to front-line service too. We're literally being invaded can we not talk about the GRA consultation for a minute?
Aaaand: I'm stopping here. We're literally being invaded and a lot of the smaller parties aren't updating and those that are... well... my updates on them has to have me on some watch-list already.
These party run down lists, essentially the view of politics from a snarky internet user rather than the leaders, have become their own form of micro fiction, as they often give you a clearer picture of what things are like from the ground. Next week we'll look at other forms of micro fiction to have emerged in these communities.